Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Rainbow Scrap Finish

FINALLY.  Exploding Boxes is a finished quilt!  Excuse me while I do a happy dance....

OK, I’m back. Yesterday I finished the binding and rushed to get pictures (alone, indoors, because Bruce - my quilt holder-upper - was at work) before the weak winter light faded. As I bound the quilt, I was careful to ensure the edges were straight, LOL.

Since I do all my bindings by machine, I sew them onto the back first.

Then I flip it to the right side and machine stitch it down. It’s more secure, and one never knows if the quilt will end up with kids or a charity, so the machine binding is peace of mind for me.

So, here is Exploding Boxes. There may or may not be a cat hiding underneath, LOL.

The quarter log cabin blocks were one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for this year. They finished at 6”, so this quilt measures 60” x72”.  I loved every part of this construction and have really developed a fondness for string projects. I see many more of them in my future!  I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday post, where many of us the world over are finishing up our 2018 RSC projects and showing them. Come check it out!

Here is the back of Exploding Boxes. I found this glorious scrappy-look plaid fabric earlier this year while doing the Utah Shop Hop in June. I only bought 2.5 yards (should’ve doubled that!), but it was a great excuse to use up some random chunks and fat quarters to finish off the back.

Exploding Boxes is also goal #10 on my 4th Quarter 2018 Finish-Along goal list. You can see that list HERE. This completes six out of my 10 goals; I hope to get at least one or two more done before year-end.

Isn’t it such a wild, happy quilt?? This may end up being a keeper.

Did I tell you that we plan to do some remodeling in the hallway so I can expand our linen closet? I’m dead serious. It’s always been on our wish-list, but now more so than ever. Not only because we have a lot of quilts linens to store, but because two certain felines (who shall remain nameless) have figured out how to open the sliding doors that cover the closet (a la 1960’s-style homes). Since we removed the carpeting and went back to hardwood floors, there’s a gap at the bottom of the doors, and they use it to paw the doors open so they can crawl up and sleep on the quilts, in the dark, cozy shelves.

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This week I also got the Christmas Tree Skirt layered, spray basted and quilted. I now just need to trim and bind it. I found some cute pink polka dot bias tape - I used to sell it in my Etsy shop - and had luckily saved a 5-yard cut for myself for “one day”. It turns out that it’ll be just enough to bind the circular tree skirt.

On the white wedges, I quilted a leaf vine. I know these pictures don’t show the quilting very well, but the back is that zig-zag print, so it’s no better that way!

On the zig-zag wedges I quilted a ribbon candy-type loop pattern.

And the candy wedges just got some swirls of increasing size down the center.

After these pictures were taken, they all got some ditch stitching between wedges and the white wedges also got some straight lines stitched 1/4” inside the seamline. I plan to finish up the tree skirt this weekend.

During the next week, I’ve got a few goals lined up. First, I’ll finish the final pieced tree secret gift project. Next I’ll sew the pinned row - shown last week - to my On Ringo Lake project. No progress was made on it this week at all, and once that row is sewn on, it’s coming down from the design wall for a break. Thirdly, I need to focus on All You Need is Love for my daughter. It’s going to be a Christmas (or birthday, since her birthday is mid-December) present. It’s also my One Monthly Goal for November, and I’d better get cracking on it! I’d love to finish that before the new Bonnie Hunter mystery begins the day after Thanksgiving, but I’ll settle for finishing it by month-end.

Thanks for dropping by!
Monday, November 12, 2018

Dispensing with Christmas Squirrels

I’ve continued sewing on my unplanned Squirrel Christmas projects. You know, like when you have ADHD and anything shiny and new catches your attention. And I’m knocking those squirrels out one by one, so I can continue with my planned sewing goals for Christmas and the remainder of the year.

First, I finally finished Let it Snow. All I had left to do was the binding and hanging sleeve. I’m glad it’s done, but I’m not overly thrilled or proud of it. But it is already hanging in the living room.  It finished at 37.5” wide (the max I could hang on that quilt hanger) by 48” long.

But the left side is all wavy. I measured it, and it is straight (although it doesn’t look like it). I tried pressing it. Maybe I should wash then press it?? I’m rather embarrassed about it. How does one correct this - is it a result of the dense quilting?

Other than that, it looks pretty nice up there. It’s a bit big for the space, but oh well. It will be changed out for other planned (and probably smaller) wall hangings as seasons change. I do love the relative simplicity of the wrought iron hanger and how well it blends in with the living room decor. The red pillow is an IKEA find.

This is goal #4 on my Finish-Along list for the 4th quarter of 2018, which you can see HERE.  It’s also the fifth finish of my ten goals. Yay! I don’t think I’ll get them all done, but it still feels good to knock ‘em out! When the end-of-quarter link-up goes live, I’ll join in.

I also finished out this tree-themed table runner.  Hmm.... this feels like the Year of the Tree for me.

The tree blocks finish at 6” each, so this table runner measures 36x18”, It hasn’t been laundered yet. It will be put into use after Christmas.

I also finally finished the binding on this runner from last year. It measures 14”x25.5” after laundering.

So all I have left to do is layer, quilt and bind the round tree skirt I showed in my last post. It's on my to-do list for this week. Oh, and so is this quick project. Just a peek of some blocks for now, because it’s a gift for someone special.

Oh, I’m loving those colors!!! This project will conclude my Christmas sewing for this year, but I have at least one wall hanging and one quilt (that I will start in summer or fall) and some quilted Christmas stockings planned for next year.

And now, I’m off to answer the Call of the Wild (the buzzer on the clothes dryer) and then start prepping some cornbread to go with tonight’s chili dinner.....
Saturday, November 10, 2018


OK, so I succumbed. There I was, just sewing along, checking off items on my sewing To-Do list, month after month. Three finishes in August, three in September, four in October. Then out of the blue....

It had to happen. I was bored hurting  Oh heck, no excuse. I just wanted to do some Christmas stuff.  It began with a real, planned project on my WIP list, Let it Snow. I finally managed to get the da** thing quilted. The dense snowy swirl design took four bobbins-worth of thread. Never. Again. Yes, I’m icing my shoulder as I type this.

OK, so my squirrels swirls leave a lot to be desired. Don’t look too closely. Of course, by saying that I realize that you WILL look too closely.... So here is a close up of the wonky swirls. Feel free to shake your head and cluck you tongue. I’ll wait until you’re done....

Let it Snow still needs binding and a small hanging sleeve in back, which will happen today. When it’s done, I’ll do a happy dance and finish post, as this is on my Finish-Along list for this quarter. The rest of the sewing squirrelly projects are not. But let’s take a peek anyway, shall we?

This is a table runner made from cute wonky trees. It’s just pin-basted for now. It will be quilted with a simple stipple this week. The trees are made by layering three 8-inch squares, right sides up and cutting. I used a tutorial from the Block Lotto group, but there is a similar free tutorial HERE.  I used up my old red and cream scraps here as well as some leftover green from Bruce’s Groovy Guitars quilt. Next time I do one of these, I’ll use more contemporary fabrics.

And I had lots of little squares of fabrics that I’d ordered a few years ago from Spoonflower. Cousin Kim gave me the idea to make coasters out of them. So, here they are, all 20 of them. They’re layered and quilted and the edges are stitched. Kim will get 12, we’ll keep 8.

And we needed a tree skirt. So this happened. It still needs to be layered and quilted. That will probably happen this week. The backing fabric will be that cute zig-zag.

Rainbow Scrap sewing? Um.... well..... I DID get Exploding Boxes basted. That will be quilted and finished this week for a reveal next weekend. Ish. And speaking of basting quilts, I’ve been using the quilt basting spray again. Or should I say STILL? There’s more in those 505 Quilt Basting Spray cans than I originally thought. With my current can, I spray basted California Poppies, Let it Snow and Exploding Boxes. I do pin the edges because I get a little spray-shy about not coating the surrounding areas with spray when I use it. But there is still more in the can. I’m definitely going to order more of this stuff! My shoulder is happy about avoiding a bazillion safety pins.

I’ve also been working on my On Ringo Lake. The first diagonal rows of one block and three blocks are sewn. The next row of five blocks is just pinned. Hopefully it will look neater after being sewn. And then there is the next row of seven waiting in the wings. I’m torn between going the distance (after the row of seven would be two rows of nine before reducing down to 7, 5, 3 and 1) or just doing two rows of 7 and then reducing. If I do the latter, it would leave 18 blocks for the back or another project. And it would be a manageable size for me to quilt. Still thinking on this...

I’m linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge (Saturday) and Oh Scrap! (Sunday). 

By the way, if you like Kona cotton solids, JoAnn’s has restocked their colors and even has a dedicated section for them now. Their regular price of $8.99 per yard is ridiculous, but if you get your hands on a 60% coupon - which happens regularly if you get their flyers or subscribe to their app on your phone - you can pick up Kona for $3.60 per yard. So far I’ve stocked up on white and black, but I intend to get some grays, red, etc. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Making Some Progress

Autumn is progressing nicely here in the Salt Lake Valley. The leaves are bright and about half-on, half-off the trees. Halloween evening was cool, but not frigid, and the kids turned out for their treats as expected. We handed out mini pumpkins from our garden and stickers. We also had some candy in case of an “emergency”, but most of the little ghouls and goblins were happy without.

I made some decent progress on my quilting projects this week. It feels so good to feel physically good again, without the aches and pains of pinched nerves and side effects from medications. So, here is what emerged from the needle this week.

Exploding Boxes is a flimsy! This is a Rainbow Scrap project that I started in January. It’s made from the quarter log cabin blocks I sewed every month. The only color I didn’t include was light blue. Those were the blocks from the first month, and the center starting squares  were quite a bit larger than I did in subsequent months. So, into the Parts Department they went.

Now it’s ready to be basted and quilted, which is on the schedule for the upcoming week. I’m wavering on the choice of fabrics for the back. I have several pieces large enough, or I could cobble together some extraneous fat quarters. Still thinking...... Anyway, I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday blog post. Come see all the fun projects being finished up!
About the name Exploding Boxes - rather an unfortunate metaphor for our times, sadly.  But that is what this style is called.... 

After assembling the above quilt top, I began working on my On Ringo Lake blocks, the Bonnie Hunter 2017 mystery quilt. They’ve been sitting untouched since last February. Somehow, I thought I was farther along, but
I’d previously only stitched up 16 of the 50 blocks. At least all the component parts for the rest were made. So this week I stitched up the remaining 34 blocks and got them all trimmed and neatly pressed (after the picture). My goal this week is to get the rest of the top (sashing, cornerstones and setting triangles) pieced. Wish me luck! 

It was on my list this week to assess the status of my Let it Snow project that I started 2 or three years ago. It’s a finish goal for this quarters 2018 Finish Along. Well, all the trees were made and the house was already cut. So, I sewed up the house and then sewed it and the trees into the four rows. This was the work of maybe a couple hours. And here is where that project now stands.

Yes, there are wonky trees and trunks, which I can assure you was NOT intentional. Apparently my sewing skills over the last three years have improved. At any rate, there will be some sort of colored border added. Then I can use the rest of my quilt basting spray to get this layered and ready for some swirly snowy quilting. I don’t plan to hang it until after Thanksgiving, so there is no great rush.

If I have any time after working on those projects, or if I find a time machine, I’ll begin stitching windmill blocks for All You Need is Love.

Today Cousin Kim and I are going to IKEA.  Earlier this week Bruce and I visited DD Stacy and family in their new home way out in Stansbury Park, a 40 minute drive from here in the valley. It’s a huge place, 6 bedrooms, and they’re still in the process of unpacking. Each of their kids will have their own bedroom, and they now have lots of space to fill up and furniture to buy. So, we’re just going to give them an IKEA gift card as a housewarming gift. Yeah, I could probably order it online and have it mailed, but why pass up a Girls Day Out when Kim and I could just go there, shop, have lunch, etc etc.....

Friday, November 2, 2018

November - One Monthly Goal

With the new month upon us (where did October go?), it’s time to set our new One Monthly Goal (OMG) for November. I’m linking up to Patty and the gang over at Elm Street Quilts

November will be a shorter and busier month than October. With Thanksgiving and the Christmas (etc) Holidays coming, the to-do lists get longer. I’m hoping to continue (as I have for the last three months) to finish up at least 3 works-in-process quilts. That is not as ambitious as it sounds, for as regular readers will know, I had a huge stack of UFOs that were in all stages of completion. 

For November, I’ve selected All You Need is Love for my completion goal. That means I need to sew the blocks for the last rounds, add them, baste the quilt, then quilt and bind it. It is not my closest-to-done quilt, but it is the most important as it will be a Christmas present for my daughter Megan.

I also wanted to thank you again for your suggestions (from your comments of a few posts ago) about what to do with all the family mink stoles and capes I had. I was able to find a local theater group - the Pioneer Theater, associated with the University of Utah - that was able and eager to take them.  Bruce and I delivered them yesterday, along with some nice vintage clothing (1920’s-1950’s) that I had collected over the years. It’s a great weight off my shoulders!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Wrapping up Green October

Last week I forgot to share these black and gray 6.5” selvage blocks that I’d made. Even though October for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was dark green, I hadn’t finished these dark neutrals in September.  So, I’ve added these 22 to the pile of other selvage blocks and now have 148 blocks, way more than I’ll need for a single quilt, since I’ll be mixing them with solids. I haven’t quite pinned down a layout yet, but it’s not going to happen for awhile yet anyway. Either later this quarter or early in the new year. 

After injuring my neck and shoulders, I finally got in to see the doctor last Monday. He put me on steroids. In the past I’ve had shots for knees, my shoulder, etc., but this is the first time I’ve had a course of pills to take. You start with high doses and taper down to smaller doses over about 10 days. Those high doses were NOT fun (who takes this stuff willingly?)    I normally don’t experience a lot of side effects with meds, but wow, these caused the sleeplessness that the doctor mentioned might happen. After a couple nights of 3-4 hours sleep, I finally added in some Tylenol P.M. and got 8 blessed hours of sleep. The good news is that I had the time to lie in bed and solve world problems, plan a full week fun curriculum for a high school English class if I should ever go back to substitute teach, planned out how I would save and spend a multi-million dollar lottery win - assuming I’d ever enter one, and do a mental Christmas list for the family.

But I’m feeling so much better and trying to pace myself with my sewing and housework. I really want to start doing some interior wall painting, but my saner self is keeping me in check.

However, I did finish the California Poppies Quilt this week.  Since I have no quilt holder around today, this picture on a bed with light from a sunless outdoor window will have to do.

This was another quick and fun make, and went together without a hitch. I had won 40 of the blocks (including 8 I had made) for the August Block Lotto.  Then I made 8 more blocks for a total of 48. The setting is a basic straight set with a light yellow leaf print sashing that I had in my stash. The cornerstones are green and help link the greens in the blocks into an Irish Chain.

This was the first time I’d tried quilt basting spray on a full cotton quilt. When I started quilting again in 2012, the first 6 quilts I made were for the grandkids, and I used Minky for the backs. The quilting spray wasn’t the best with that, so I hadn’t used it since. But this time it worked great and saved me from pinning while I’m healing.

While quilting, the quilt sandwich didn’t seem as taut as I’m used to, but there was no puckering or pleats, so I’m pleased.  For as many quilts as I make, I don’t see the spray basting as a regular occurrence, but it will be great in a pinch. Or a pinched nerve, LOL.

California Poppies was quilted with two shades of Aurifil 50-weight cotton; lighter peachy orange on the front and darker orange on the back in a (mostly) straight grid pattern. The batting is my usual Soft and Plush cotton. The backing and binding are a small orange print. I had to add in a small strip of Jen Kingwell fabric along the bottom of the backing.

So, that’s California Poppies. It finished at 64x84” and will go into the donation pile for Hands2Help next year.  This quilt was #7 on my Finish Along 4th Quarter goals for 2018, which you can see here, and it’s my 20th quilt finish this year.

So, now I can complete my October recap for Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and link up to our weekly Saturday gathering at Angela’s Scrappy Saturday.

My October dark green (and gray) RSC blocks were:
6   green selvage blocks (2 sizes)
22 gray selvage blocks, 6.5”
3  Squared Away blocks, 10.5"
8  crumb blocks, 6.5”
4  bird blocks, 10.5”      and
18  quarter log cabin blocks, 6.5”
For a total of 61 Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.

And I finished four quilts in October.

So, despite an injury, I was able to still pace myself and keep things moving along. I am thrilled to be clearing out so many works in process. At this rate, I may let myself do some stash shopping during the end-of-year clearance sales!

And finally, let’s see what’s on the quilting horizon for November.

First, I want to play with my wonky quarter log cabin blocks. Oh, the possibilities!!

What I know is that I’m going to do this funky layout, set with 10 blocks across and 12 down, for a 60x84” size. What you see pictured here is about a half-quilt’s worth of blocks stuck up on the design board. When I get to playing with it for real later this weekend, I’ll construct it much as I did the bowties quilt recently. That is to say, I’ll divide the colors up roughly half and half so that the color balance for the top and bottom has the same variety. You know, not all the blues on top and pinks and reds on bottom. Other than that, I’ll just see what happens and while arranging the top and bottom halves independently. Naturally I’ll make sure that the two halves will mesh together correctly.

Secondly, I’ll move ahead in November with All You Need is Love for my daughter Megan. This quilt got its planned borders last week.  Instead of doing a 4.5” border of black and white checkerboard, I did it as 2.5”, which is much better and gives the rounds the size variety they needed. The pink hearts were already sewn at 4.5” and they fit just fine - I just had to use 4 less than originally planned. Then, to make up the downsizing of the checkerboard round, I added a 2.5” border in aqua to get the base up to the size I will need to build the final round onto.

The quilt is now ready for the 8” windmill blocks on the sides, stripe-y fabric treatment on the tops and the final cornerstones. Next week I may be asking your opinion about which windmill block to use - I’m wavering between two, so I’m going to make one of each before deciding.  Right now this looks pretty wrinkly and wobbly up on the design board, but that’s just because the top is pinned and the lower half is just hanging. Believe me, it’s symmetrical because you can’t do medallion style without maintaining the measurements. Wish I could say the same for me......

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Mid Week Progress Report and a Finish!

I’m happy to be sewing again, although in small spurts. Tomorrow I’m going to get my next quilt basted (come hell or high water), but in the meantime, just some plain ol’ sewing was called for to scratch my Need To Sew itch.

I had planned to sew myself an apron, and finally got it done. However, there was enough fabric to make two, so I made matching aprons for Cousin Kim and me. In the end, I omitted  the red ruffle at the bottom, seeing much better opportunities for the red in my quilty sewing, hehe.

They’re pretty plain jane, but cute when on. I did some fancy stitching on the upper edges of our pockets; butterflies for Kim (her Etsy shop is ButterfliesandDonuts) and some flowers for me. Only the picture of Kim’s turned out, and it’s hard to see anyway because the thread matches the pocket. But oh well.

This was #5 on my Quarter 4 Finish Along 2018 Goals. My list is here, and I’ll be linking up to their finishing post when it goes live at the end of the quarter.

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I have a pile of mink stoles (and jackets) that I need to get rid of. I was the “lucky” (*cough*) person to inherit those that belonged to my mother, grandmothers, former mother-in-law and.... I don’t know, maybe the dog catcher’s wife or something. Sheesh, I think they multiplied in their hanging case over these years. Don’t laugh - there is even a neck stole of mink bodies (about 3) sewn together. I’m embarrassed to own these things and do not want them!! Originally my plan was to cut them up and make teddy bears for my kids out of them. That never happened, and I have no desire to make them for the grands, either. Should I just take them to the thrift store? Will they even take them? Anyone want them or know of someone who could use them?

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Another thing I’ve been meaning to share. As a member of the Days For Girls organization, I receive a monthly PERIODical (newsletter, but their choice of words is wonderful, isn’t it?). In the October issue under the category of strong women leaders, there was a great article about the Hon. Soipan Tuya, a Maasai woman elected to national office. It talks about her visit to the Great Rift Valley, specifically the Narok area, where she met with hundreds of young girls and parents. She has partnered with DFG and the government to bring some interest changes along. You may enjoy reading the article; the link is HERE.  If some of the faces and styles and colors look familiar, well you may just have read my recent posts about my visit to the Maasai Narok area of Kenya this summer!

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Finally, I had to share these cute pictures with you. Cousin Kim and I usually go walking every Wednesday morning, and last week we were once again at Wheeler Farm, our favorite place (even better than Disneyland!).

They are really getting into the spirit of Halloween this year!  We just laughed and laughed at this.

The school kids (there are always busloads here on field trips) thought it was cool, too. Then we went inside the barn, because I had to get a look from the inside.

HAHAHAHA!!  He even has hay in his mouth!!!  Naturally, there are scarecrows, pumpkins, witches, etc etc. all over the farm. Plus the annual Hay Maze and Pumpkin Days events for kids and the parents. Fall was always my most favorite time when I worked at the farm, and it just keeps getting better! My hat is off to Reagan S. and the whole team who work there!!